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Friday, 24 May 2019

Iraqi PM Abdul Mahdi met Saudi crown prince in Riyadh

Reuters , Thursday 18 Apr 2019
Mohammed bin Salman and Adel Abdul Mahdi
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 17, 2019 (Photo: Reuters)
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Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his office said on Thursday, a day after his first official visit to the kingdom which has been wooing Baghdad to stem the influence of Tehran.

Abdul Mahdi’s meeting with the crown prince came after he met King Salman on Wednesday.

His office said the leaders signed 13 agreements in areas such as trade, energy and political cooperation, without giving further details.

The premier has said Iraq would maintain strong ties with Iran, but also with the United States and regional neighbors, many of which, like Saudi Arabia, consider Tehran a foe.

Abdul Mahdi went to Riyadh with a large delegation including officials and businessmen, with trade billed as a prime focus of the discussions between OPEC’s two largest oil producers.

The countries had historically been at loggerheads since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 but have recently undertaken a diplomatic push to improve ties.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia reopened a consulate in Baghdad which had been closed for 30 years.

King Salman also announced his country would provide Iraq $1 billon to build sport facilities, an announcement which kicked of a two-day visit to Iraq by high-level Saudi officials.

During his visit to Tehran, Abdul Mahdi met with President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Many of Iraq’s leaders, from its Shia majority, have close ties with Iran, the main Shia power in the Middle East.

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